This week we’ll get to see Lefty and Tiger go head-to-head, something that we don’t see very often. In fact, it’s only happened 25 times on the PGA Tour. (check out THIS link for more info)
Lowest rounds in the 25 pairings: Mickelson = 10, Woods = 11
Rounds where they posted the same score: 4
Total strokes in 25 rounds, Mickelson: 1750 = 70.0 scoring average
Total strokes in 25 rounds, Woods: 1725 = 69.0 scoring average
So who gets the last laugh this week? It’s hard to say. Tiger’s obviously still searching for his golf swing, and Phil’s trying to rebound from a lackluster 2010. Mickelson’s best tournament this season was his first event of the year – the Farmers Insurance Open, where he finished 2nd. He also finished T9 in the Pebble Beach AT&T Pro-Am. Phil didn’t have a great showing at the Northern Trust Open, where he finished T35, and of course he was one-and-done after the Fowler highlight reel back in the 2nd round of the Accenture Matchplay. Tiger finished T44 at the Farmers Insurance Open, then of course he was an early exit in the first round of the Accenture Matchplay. For the sake of debate, I’d have to give Phil a slight edge heading into this week, simply because he’s played more events.
Then you start considering their histories here at the Big Blue Monster. Tiger obviously feels comfortable here, or at least has felt comfy in the past when he had a golf swing. Of his 71 PGA Tour Wins, 6 of them came at this very course in this event, with his last win here coming back in 2007. While only fractionally as successful, Phil has had success here at Doral too – winning this tournament just two seasons ago.
Then we start considering the conditions, more notably the wind. The early word is that this week’s event will be much more calm weather-wise than last week at the Honda Classic. But don’t be surprised if the forecast changes over the course of the next few days, although it is highly doubtful that it could be any worse than last week on the players. And you-know-who has let it be known that he hasn’t been overly successful controlling his “traj” (trajectory) in the more windy conditions. As for Phil – much of his success will be determined by two things: how well he’s hitting the ball off the tee and how he performs on the greens.
The notable side-story in this pairing will be the presence of Graeme McDowell, who will be the third wheel in the group. But I suspect that he’ll handle the big-league pairing just fine, especially considering that technically – he is the “A” player in the group.
Should be a great week of golf.